© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

St. Louis Municipalities Look To 'RainScaping' To Prevent Runoff

A stormwater drain.
KOMU via Flickr

With a large percentage of land paved over, St. Louis City and many other area municipalities have encountered problems with water runoff. In addition to the nuisance of standing water on streets, water runoff can cause health and environmental concerns.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, the City of Frontenac and the Missouri Botanical Garden are all looking to one solution to the problem - RainScaping.

“Any kind of landscaping feature that allows the water to be absorbed more into the ground rather than let it be run off is what we call RainScaping,” Karla Wilson said. She is the program manager of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Deer Creek Watershed Alliance.

In essence, RainScaping is about dealing with the water where it falls.

According to Wilson, the best landscaping practices usually involve a number of measures from rain barrels to rain gardens, and are unique to their environment. To encourage the adoption of rainscaping, the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance is offering a number of prizes for landowners living in one of the 19 municipalities in the watershed.

On a larger scale, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is incorporating RainScaping in their efforts to follow regulations.

“We are trying to reduce sewer overflows, and so we wanted to get water off of our sewer system. Instead of building deep tunnels, we’re going to employ about a hundred million dollars of RainScaping in the city of St. Louis along the Missouri River,” public information manager Lance LeComb said.

The city of Frontenac saw the writing on the wall eight years ago, and made a storm water master plan, city administrator Bob Shelton said. Now Frontenac requires new construction to prevent any new runoff. As part of this regulation, the city is working with the Missouri Botanical Garden to educate landowners about RainScaping.

A RainScaping Guide is available on the Missouri Botanical Garden's website. In addition to details about RainScaping, there is information on the site about a prize drawing available to anyone in the greater St. Louis Region and rebates available to landowners in the Deer Creek Watershed.

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

Stay Connected

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.